14 August 2010

Eat, Pray, Love Challenge.....The Round Up

A HUGE thank you to all of you who joined me for our Eat, Pray, Love challenge. We created an inspiring Italian menu to commemorate the opening of the much anticipated movie Eat, Pray Love which opened in theatres on Friday...yesterday. My friends and I are getting together on Sunday so let me know what your thoughts of this much anticipated movie if you have already seen it. Thank you for travelling with me on this journey as we recreated an Italian menu from antipasto to dolce. It's time to put our feet up, hang up our apron strings, sit on the patio with our bellini's and reconnect over some good conversation.With these personally imposed challenges my own culinary skills have been rejuvenated and back on track and I am once again inspired by each and every fabulous suggestion. This is the perfect time of year to pump up our kitchens into high gear!

Since this is a blog all about food I concentrated on the EAT part of the book for this personal challenge to celebrate the opening of Eat, Pray, Love the movie starring Julia Roberts. We began our Italian adventure with an antipasto of Toasted Bread with Burrata and Basil . Next we travelled to the Italian coast for an il primo of Spaghetti con le Cozza. We then moved to the secondo or "second course" which is the main dish with  Agnello Scottadita (Burned Fingers) which is a dish aptly named. Follow this with a contorno of Tiella and add a finishing touch of Insalata d'Arance and your guests will be more that in the Italian mood. For the finale I offered an enticing classic with a cocktail of an Italian Bellini in lieu of dessert. Who had room for dessert when we were stuffed to overflowing?

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my own cooking adventures. At the moment I am not travelling the world on my own personal journey as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love or realizing my dream of visiting every cooking school from here to Timbuktu but I can infuse new life into my own kitchen. Every day food should be an adventure either with new ideas or experimenting with a new cuisine. Each day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means something as simple as making use of a wonderful find at our local farmers market.

By creating this challenge what better way to emulate Elizabeth Gilbert's sojourn in Italy than to create a menu based on local ingredients, as the Italians do, and her own adventures in Italy. I hope you felt my excitement as I travelled on my own personal journey for the past few weeks leading up to opening night.  Italian cuisine is all about the freshest, most flavourful ingredients prepared simply yet exquisitely. The food of Italy places a big emphasis on regional specialties and artisanally produced products.  Gilbert's time in Italy is spent immersing herself in the romantic language and cuisine of Italy that we all love. My menu did not concentrate on just one region in Italy but embraced the entire country in my own culinary adventure to celebrate the release of the movie.

Eating in Italy is also a main event and the descriptions provided for the reader of Eat, Pray, Love and the food consumed were absolutely mouth watering and ultimately inspired this challenge. The EAT part of the book highlights Elizabeth's gastronomical indulgences and creates vivid and beautiful imagery of all things Italian. Her writing on the food she samples, is a toe curling narrative for any "foodie". She entices us with "zucchini blossoms with a soft dab of cheese", "lamb,truffles and carpaccio rolled around hazelnut mousse", "ravioli with a puree of crustaceans and octopus served like a hot salad", "airy clouds of ricotta sprinkled with pistachio", "bread chunks floating in aromatic oils", or "a salad of chilled oranges tossed in a dressing of raw onion and parsley".

Now on to the roundup of mouthwatering dishes brought by you my friends!!!!!

First we have Joan of Foodalogue with an innovative Artichoke with Anchovy-Caper-Lemon Aioli. Joan says, "I steamed, marinated, and ultimately grilled it, serving it up with an anchovy-caper-lemon aioli. And if that wasn’t wonderful enough, I paired it with a spicy caponata topped with creamy burrata and parmesan crisps." Now if that doesn't make your mouth water!!!!!! I know you have your feet planted firmly in Italian soil Joan...well done! Thanks so much for joining the challenge.

Krista of Rambling Tart brought a dish that reminds her of street food in Italy, Fried Polenta with Garlic and Rosemary. She says, "I cooked the polenta with chicken stock, garlic and lavish amounts of ground black pepper, stirred in a mound of grated Parmesan cheese, and set it to chill. When it was cool I tore it into bite-sized pieces, tossed them with cornmeal and fried them until they were nice and crispy. Mmm! They looked so good, but I wasn’t done yet. I added fresh garlic and rosemary to the oil and fried them up until the garlic was beautifully browned, added them to the fried polenta and sprinkled everything with salt. Delicious!! Crispy and salty on the outside, creamy and savory on the inside." I would say it is perfect too Krista!!!!!

Simona of Briciole brings a delicious contorno of Coste Gratinate (GratinĂ©ed Chard Stalks). As she says, "When you see beautiful bunches of rainbow chard like the ones in the photo, what is a farmers' market shopper to do?" I say grab several bunches and make this amazing and colourful dish!! Italian cuisine is all about the freshest, most flavourful ingredients prepared simply yet exquisitely.

Akheela of Torview brought the perfect accompaniment of Italian Bread. To quote Akheela, "This is a basic recipe for one loaf of rustic Italian bread, soft inside and crusty on the outside. Well worth making more often." So glad you brought it to the table!!!What would an Italian meal be without a loaf of crusty bread warm from the oven!!

Thank you my friends for joining me on this journey!!!

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  1. Great recipes! It all looks delicious! I'm seeing the movie Monday and really looking forward to it as it sounds great!

  2. Wonderful recipes! I so enjoyed your journey. Looking forward to hearing what you think of the movie!!

  3. What yummy recipes! That movie must be great.



  4. Each of these dishes look amazing. I'm partial to the fried polenta, it looks so much like popcorn shrimp, and must be so good!

  5. Valli what lovely and yummy recipes, I have to see again! lovely chanllenge, congrats, huggs, gloria

  6. Valli: I have enjoyed every delicious part of your trip. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.


  7. That was a wonderful adventure! Everything looks so good.

  8. All the recipes look amazing! And I am dying to try some of them. Thank you for sharing with us!

  9. Love the round-up chica! You did a fantastic job showcasing this book through food!

  10. These are some really gorgeous dishes.

  11. All your challenges are interesting and inspiring. It all looks so delicious - but I fixated on the fried polenta! Definitely frying my next batch :)

  12. Just got home from seeing the movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I found this post...perfect timing! The movie made me hungry and so did this post!

  13. I am already planning a girls night out to enjoy this wonderful movie.

    Great post.

  14. nice roundup and all the recipes looks great!

  15. Good round-up Val. I am intrigued by the polenta, but the other dishes look good too. It was a nice idea for a challenge. Wish I had had time to contribute, still, I am now looking forward to the film :)

  16. Nice roundup, Val. Thanks for the fun event! I hope you'll enjoy the movie.

  17. What a lovely post and roundup

  18. I enjoyed everyone of your posts - and loved your initiative to challenge yourself with this. I feel badly for not being able to support you with my participation - but know I wanted to, and I have enjoyed the round up!


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